Shenasnameh Information

Shenasnameh by Amak Mahmoodian

First Edition May 2016. Co-Published by ICVL Studio & RRB Publishing.

Printing: Full colour Indigo on 118grs Mohawk Superfine Eggshell

Binding: Fully Hand Bind in Winters Novalite

Every book comes in a handmade designed slipecase

Size: 100 x 136 mm

Extent: 120 pages

Language: English / PersianISBN: 978-0-9932323-4-3

Order Here  (Retail copies sold out).

Collector Daily Review by Helka Aleksdottir:

"While the nearly identical images reflect the limited representation of women in today’s Iran, put together in one narrative, they still tell quietly personal stories – in the face of this system, these women have found tiny ways to take back control and to define themselves on their own terms. The photobook, with its thoughtful design, movingly delivers a message about faces and identities, where stubborn diversity and subversive independence can still flourish behind the blankness of common facades and stereotypes."


Shenasnameh is the name of the official Iranian Birth Certificate. It is valid for life, but the photograph which it contains must be updated according to the standards. 

For a woman in Iran, the making of this photograph is a personally charged affair; her hair must be covered in keeping with official standards, and any excess of make-up will be met with official disapproval.

Six years ago, I was waiting in a reception room, holding the birth certificates of my mother and myself, my eyes began to flick from the picture of my mother to the picture of myself, and back again.

A sudden realisation came upon me of what these pictures meant, of what they showed, and what they didn’t show. My mother and I, for all our differences, were welded into one being.  I looked like my mother, and my mother looked like me. But it went beyond that. All of a sudden I realised that all Iranian women were being restricted to look the same, like us; plain faces under hairless scarves.

That same day my fingerprint was fixed next to my image and my mother’s fingerprint was fixed next to her image. But though the faces had become the same, the fingerprints were different.


*Winner of the Photobook Flip Award 2016

*Special Mention at Maribor Photobook Award 2106

*Finalist Best British Book Design and Production 2016 

*Shortlisted 2016 Best Author Book, Rencontres Arles 

*Best Photobook 2015 selection by Yumi Goto, Lens Culture 

*Photo Book Store Best Photobook 2015


Foam Magazine (NL) 

La Repubblica (Italy)

IMA Magazine (JP)

Raw View Magazine (NY) 

PHMuseum (EN)

Photo Eye (EN)
Collector Daily (EN)
Kassel Foto Buch (GE)
Gabriela Cendoya (SP) 

Hajime Kimura (JP)